msnbc | February 23, 2013
>>> well, as we've been saying it looks like in just six days drastic cuts called the sequestration will go into effect. will either side -- joining me now to talk about what's going on behind the scenes is new york democratic congressman charles rangel from the democratic house, ways and means committee .
>> good to be with you.
>> the fact that we've gotten this far shows that the government has already failed us. do you see a resolution before march 1st .
>> i want to believe that a country as great as we are with the talents that we have in the private sector and the public sector that we would not do this to ourselves. what we are doing in front of the whole world is showing the inability to manage our own fiscal affairs and at the same time to owe some $16.4 trillion. for people to invest in the united states of america and just watch our behavior, the whole idea of sequester was creating a nightmare that should never happen. the whole idea is that you're going to dismantle government to such an extent that people have to get together, republicans and democrats and work it out and we're watching ourselves destroy ourselves destroy ourselves. i just hope that the business sector, the religious sector would say this is too important for a handful of politicians to do to our country.
>> now, when it came to negotiations on the debt ceiling deal those came down to the wire. we saw the same thing with the fiscal cliff that didn't get resolved until after the deadline had passed and the sequester was supposed to take effect in january, but it got pushed to march. i have to ask you as a member of congress , why does congress put everything to the last minute, right down to the wire. is there a procedural reason for that? a tactical reason?
>> it's like poker. you wait until you get the last card in order to find out whether you think you can win or not and then you normally assess what happens if you lose. but when you have a handful of people that can't lose and they want to win and if they stop government they've won and they don't feel the pain like it's their mom or their kids that are losing. they believe that their conservatism is enough to be a patriot to bring their own party down, but to bring the country down with it. and so i heard you say that we'll do this over and over again until people are numb, but even with russian roulette , there is a live bullet in the chamber and that live bullet means the integrity in terms of national security and fiscal stability of our country.
>> now we're starting to see both sides play the blame game . the president has said the sequester is congress ' idea and some are starting to say this is the president's initiative and even members of his own party. this week max baucus told a local tv station, the president is part of the sequester and he continues i don't want to say the president is solely to blame. he's not. how did we get to this point? who is ultimately responsible for where we are right now?
>> i -- i really don't see where that question has anything to do with where we find ourselves now. who is responsible for it is not nearly as important as how the heck do we get out of this situation. so whether the idea came from the congress , republicans, democrats or the president, nobody thought we would ever be so stupid to get to the point that it could happen, and so i can only make an appeal for those who love this country as much as i do. get on the phone. call your member of congress in the house or the senate. tell them that what we are doing irreparable harm and it is totally insane and the voters will remember, but no one should be able to say that they couldn't stop this. so we have religious leaders. they preach and we're supposed to take care of the sick and the aged. think about the kids in school, those in the hospitals and those in airports and those men and women that are overseas and for god's sake, tell our country's representatives that they're not going to tolerate this going on.
>> i want to talk to you about a different issue that's also very important to you. you have many times called for the traditional draft to be reinstated and last week we called for it again to be reinstated and this time including women. can you tell me about that?
>> women have been volunteering and fighting and combat receiving all types of honors and they've never been recognized as equals. they don't receive combat pay and it's absolutely ridiculous. so recently, the pentagon established that a woman that serves in combat is entitled to receive all of the things that go with it to show our country's appreciation. so it seems to me that if we're going to have a draft and i really believe that if we did have a draft set up that congress would not be so anxious to the democrats and republicans to put our young people in harm's way.
>> tell me why you say that because you're introduced this legislation multiple times and it's clearly something you're very committed to. you bet your life because the people in the congress that allow these things to go on, they have no fear that anyone in their community and their families are going to be making any sacrifice at all. less than 1% of americans, most of whom volunteer for economic reasons paid the price in terms of 6600 lives lost, tens of thousands of people wounded. veterans, american veterans coming home, disoriented, unemploy unemployed, some homeless and no one pays a price. i submit to you, we would not be in iraq, afghanistan and a whole lot of other places that we've introduced our troops if when we voted into congress , members of congress said oh, my god, they're talking about my grandkids.
>> quickly, before we go, some members of congress are making cuts in preparation for the sequester kicking in is that something that you're thinking about. no, i'm not thinking about that.
>> that's not a drop of water in the two oceans that surround us. no. we don't need is imbelsymbols. we need ak and the lives that will be placed in jeopardy, the hospitals, the airport, the -- the schools, there's no need for us to do this to ourselves and i would think that there's enough people concerned about our country that they're just not going to sit at the side and say what a shame. what a shame is us is our lives and our kids' lives and the security of our nation.
>> congressman charlesy rangel.
>> constituents are the most important